Canberra Times, February 18 2001

After ceasing work as Garry Kasparov's trainer, Alexander Nikitin was frequently offered the opportunity to work with promising juniors.

Having ruled out working with any girl players - he claimed not understand the way their brains operated - he also declined offers to train many promising boys, on the grounds that they were not talented enough.

Finally, in 1993, Nikitin found a player whom he thought might have World Championship potential - a 10-year-old named Dmitri Jakovenko.

Since then Jakovenko has risen steadily but unspectacularly up the rankings, winning the World Under 16 Championship in 1999 and performing at Grandmaster level on a couple of occasions but otherwise doing little to justify Nikitin's bold prediction.

However last week Jakovenko, now 17, proved that he is ready to be considered a world class player. Jakovenko scored the best result of his career by winning the Aosta Valley Open in Saint Vincent, Italy, on tiebreak ahead of Cuba's Walter Arencibia, one of 29 Grandmasters in the field.

With a style that seemed closer to a young Karpov than Kasparov, Jakovenko won all five of his games with the white pieces, his victims including two former Australian Open Champions, Vadim Milov and this writer. His best game was the following fine attacking effort.

Saint Vincent Open 2001
White: D.Jakovenko
Black: M.Cebalo
Opening: Sicilian Dragon

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 0-0 8.Bc4 Nc6 9.Qd2 Bd7 10.Bb3 Qa5 11.0-0-0 Rfc8 12.h4 Ne5 13.g4 b5?! 14.h5 Nc4 15.Bxc4 bxc4

Croatian GM Cebalo has a liking for this system, opening the b file against White's king. However Black's threats are relatively easy to meet so Black should prefer 13...Nc4.

16.Bh6 Bh8 17.Kb1 Qb6 18.hxg6 fxg6 19.Qh2 Rab8 20.Bc1 Bg7 21.Nd5 Nxd5 22.exd5

Not 22.Qxh7+? Kf7 23.exd5 Rh8 winning the queen.

22...h6

22...Bxd4? loses to 23.Qxh7+ Kf8 24.Bh6+.

23.c3 Rf8 24.Qc2 g5 25.Ka1 Rf7 26.f4!

White's attack has proceeded slowly but the opening of lines will now be fatal for Black.

26...Bxg4 27.Rdg1 Bxd4 28.Rxg4 Bg7 29.fxg5! Rf2 30.Qxf2!

30.Bd2 was not bad either but the text move is much prettier - the two rooks and bishop form an unstoppable attacking force.

30...Qxf2 31.gxh6 Qf3 32.Rxg7+ Kh8 33.Rhg1 Rf8 34.h7! Rf7 35.Rg8+ Kxh7 36.R8g3 Qh5 37.a3 a5 38.Ka2 a4 39.Be3 Qh4 40.R1g2 Qh5 41.Bd4 Qh6 42.Rg8 Rf6 43.R2g4 Qd2 44.Bxf6 exf6 45.R4g7+ Kh6 46.Rg2 1-0


The Ballarat Begonia Festival Open, March 10-12, may have withdrawn from the 2001 Grand Prix but it remains one of Australia's premier weekend tournaments, second only to Canberra's Doeberl Cup for longevity and with many prizes for lower rated players. Details: Bas Van Riel 03-53316439.


Tuggeranong chess club has recommenced its free Saturday morning coaching for juniors and adults. Sessions run from 10-12 at the Tuggeranong Valley RU Club, Wanniassa. Details Peter Simpson 62926603.